Hot tub

Hot Tubs Can Positively Impact My Health?

Looking forward to relaxing in your hot tub after work or enjoying it with family and friends over the weekend? Not only are hot tubs a great way to destress, they also positively impact your body.

 

Relieves Tension Headaches and Migraines

If you suffer from chronic headaches or migraines, spending time in the hot tub can help to reduce your symptoms. Not only does the hot tub sooth any body aches you might be experiencing, but it also fosters a more relaxing environment. All these factors work together to reduce the chances of experiencing migraines and headaches.

 

Improves Cardiovascular Health

Maintaining a strong cardiovascular system is a significant part of your overall health. Spending time in the hot tub can be good for your cardiovascular health as it increases your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure.

 

Alleviates Pain that Comes with Arthritis

If you suffer from bodily ailments–arthritis, carpal tunnel or tendonitis–time in the hot tub is a great escape from the discomfort that accompanies these conditions. The bubbles created by hot tubs jets increase buoyancy, which removes pressure on your joints in many daily activities. Increased buoyancy, in conjunction with the warm temperatures, can reduce joint pain and increase blood circulation, which reduces muscle aches and pains.

 

How Long Can I Spend in the Hot Tub at Once?

Even with all aforesaid benefits, it’s important to revert to an old saying, “Everything in moderation”. Soaking in hot tubs for extended durations of time can negatively impact the body. So, you’re probably wondering how long should you spend in the hot tub?

Since we are all different, there is no fixed amount of time that works for everyone. For example, if you are pregnant or have a heart condition, it is best to use the hot tub sparingly. Also, if you’re experiencing any negative symptoms during your time in the hot tub, it is best to remove yourself from the pool.

Barbeque

Charcoal vs Gas Grill: Which One’s for You?

The warm weather fast approaches and brings barbeque season with it. Is your grill ready for the summer? For those looking to purchase a new barbeque, first answer the age-old question: charcoal or gas grill?

 

What Are the Differences?

Charcoal and gas grills are unique in many ways. What you are looking to get out of your grilling experience will determine which one is best for you. So, here is what you need to know about each.

 

Gas Grills

Convenience and control are two main features offered by gas grills. For many, those two words embody their dream barbeque. It’s because of this that gas grills have become a very popular option for so many looking to enjoy barbequed food.

Safety
It’s important to remember gas is explosive and requires proper handling. Gas tends to be slightly safer than charcoal as there is little chance for sparks or hot objects to escape.

Convenience
Don’t worry if barbequing isn’t your specialty. Gas grills are easy to start, maintain a consistent temperature and are easy to clean. For individuals with minimal barbequing experience, gas grills provide a straightforward route to barbequed food.

 

Charcoal Grills

Produces Great Tasting Food!
The main feature making charcoal grills such a sought-after grill, is the flavourful food the grill produces. Charcoal grills emit more smoke, creating a lovely smoke taste, and get hotter than gas barbeques. Great heat is better for cooking steaks and other red meats.  

Safety
Charcoal grills have a higher fire risk. This has caused some apartments and high rise building to ban them from being used on the property. If you live in an apartment or condo, check your building rules before going this route.

Convenience
Charcoal grills don’t provide the convenience seen in gas grills. Charcoal is dirty to handle, hard to light and takes longer to reach the desired temperature. Negative aspects aside, with precautionary measures and proper tools–gloves, shovels or tongs–charcoal grills can be manageable and yield top-quality results on the grill.

 

Ready to Decide?

If you’re all about the flavour then charcoal is probably your best bet; however, if user-friendliness is central, than a gas grill is the way to go.

Shuffleboard

Elevate Your Parties with a Shuffleboard

Have you ever played shuffleboard? This game is great fun with a couple players or in larger group settings. Incorporate one of these tables into your game room and enjoy with friends and family. For those who are not familiar, here is an overview of shuffleboard.

How Long Has Shuffleboard Been Around?

Created in England in the 1400s, the original name given to what we now refer to as shuffleboard was shove-groat. Over time, the style of play and name continued to evolve—shovelboard to slidegroat and then shovelpenny.

Name of Stick in Shuffleboard

The name of the stick used in shuffleboard is the cue-stick. The cue-stick is used to push coloured disks down the court.

Length of a Shuffleboard Court

Shuffleboards occupy a fair amount of space. Official tournament shuffleboard tables are 22 feet in length. Standard shuffleboards used in homes, bars or game rooms vary in length from nine to 14 feet. The width of standard shuffleboard tables ranges from 16 to 20 inches, with a playing field height of 30 inches.

How to Play Shuffleboard

Shuffleboard can be played with two people or in larger groups, making it convenient for group gatherings–here are the rules for the game. If playing in larger groups, all individuals must be divided into two teams.

  • A foul line is created six feet from the far end of the table. To qualify for a point, disks must cross the foul line without falling off the table.
  • Opposing sides are both given four weighted disks, differentiated by distinct colours.
  • A coin toss is used to determine which side starts.
  • Teams alternate sliding their disks across the table until all disks have been cast. You can try to knock the opposing teams’ disks off the table or knock a teammate’s disks into a higher scoring area.
  • The team with disks furthest on the table score points. A disk hanging over the far end of the table scores four points. A disk crossing the far line, without hanging over the far end, scores three points. A disk crossing the nearer scoring line scores 2 points. A disk crossing the foul line (but no other lines) scores one point.
  • At this point, you retrieve the disks and start again. The side that won the last round starts the next one. The game can be played is normally played to 11, 15 or 21.

Shuffleboards come in a variety of styles. Click here for additional information on how to play.

Awning

Perfect Your Outdoor Space with an Awning

What Is an Awning?

An awning is a canvas stretched over a frame that serves as a cover from sunlight and rain. These covers have traditionally been used over storefronts; however, have been gaining popularity as a shaded feature over outdoor sitting and entertaining areas. Awnings attach to the outside of a home and can incorporate a motor, enabling them to retract when unused.

To better accommodate the differing needs of home owners, awnings can come in a variety of dimensions–some projecting up to four metres.

 

What Purpose Do They Serve?

Enjoying your morning cup of coffee on your backyard patio is a great way to start the day. But what if excessive sunlight or rains prevent you from being in your backyard? After all, too much sun can be damaging for our skin.

Awnings act as a barrier from the sun and reduce exposure to unnecessary amounts of UV rays on our skin. This barrier helps to prevent larger issues like skin cancer. This feature allows you to enjoy the breeze on your skin and breathe the fresh air, while protecting you from sun and rain.

Now, the sun’s powerful rays are not only damaging to us, but also to our furniture. Leaving your patio furniture exposed to the sun can cause the colour to fade over time.

 

What Styles Are Available to Me?

Every element of your outdoor patio space should reflect your own personal tastes. Awnings come in numerous different styles, so you have something right for your space. Some options for awnings are:

Yes, awnings are full of functional purposes; however, they can also be a great architectural addition to a house. Not only are different styles an option, the canvas portions are often available in a variety of patterns and colours this feature is a positive architectural addition to your home.

Sunroom

Why Your House Needs a Sunroom

Have you ever wanted to enjoy the snowflakes falling, but without the cold, wet part? Or maybe sip your morning tea while taking in the beauty of your garden? If you are looking to revel in the nature of your yard while being protected from the elements, a sunroom is a great option for you.

So, What is a Sunroom?

A sunroom is a room–often an addition–on a house that allows for viewing of the surrounding outdoor space, while providing protection from the natural elements—snow, rain, wind or excessive amounts of sun.

Sunrooms come in two main types: three-season and four-season rooms.

  • Three-season rooms: Are built for use in the spring, summer and fall and generally not heated–limiting usable potential during winter.
  • Four-season rooms: Is built for use all year-round. These models incorporate insulated glass to retain heat in the colder months. The frame is also thermally broken, allowing for more efficient heating and cooling throughout the changes in seasons.

Here are some of the main uses of a sunroom and how it can work to meet your needs. 

Versatile Area

Sunrooms can meet a variety of needs depending on what you’re looking to gain from the space. Sunrooms are excellent for activities like those found below.

  • A greenroom: If you are passionate about gardening, sunrooms provide opportunity to partake in this hobby year-round. Ample sunlight and consistent temperatures make your sunroom the perfect space for the greenroom of your dreams.
  • A space to relax: Escape the rush of life. Sometimes we need to escape to a quiet space and enjoy a warm beverage and comfy chair or couch. Sunrooms are a great option for this space.
  • An exercise room: Get your daily exercise in a space that allows you to enjoy the pleasant views of your outdoor space at the same time.

Energy Efficient

Sunrooms capture the natural warmth and light provided by the sun, reducing the electricity needed to light and heat your sunroom.

Darts

Awesome Dart Games to Elevate Your Next Party

Darts can be a great form of entertainment to play with friends and family.  Here are four fun dart games to bring out at your next get-together.

Cricket

The objective of this game is to “close” all your numbers – 20 down through 15 and bulls-eye – and finish with equal or more points than your opponent. You close a number by hitting three of that number.

Around the Clock

This is a simple game that is great to play with unexperienced dart players. The goal in each game is to become the first player to hit every number on the board (in order) with one dart.

Baseball

Yes, for all you baseball fans out there, you can play baseball with darts. Baseball is another straightforward dart game to enjoy with your guests. This game can have as many players and teams as you would like. The goal is to score the most runs per inning. The highest score at the end of the game wins.

X01

This is an easy dart game for you and your friends to play. The concept is simple so even the least experienced player can play and have fun. The game play starts with a score of 301, 401, 501, 601 or 1001. The goal is to get exactly zero by tossing three darts and subtracting the sum of those three throws from your current score.

Mulligan

Is your party full of skillful dart players? Mulligan may be the game for you. Although conceptually very easy to grasp, this game is no cake-walk. There is no restriction on how many players can play this game and the aim is to “close” six random numbers and the bullseye before your competitors.

Try these games at your next social and see how much fun you have! Read up on more detailed instructions to get a better sense of how to play the games.

outdoor living

How to Create the Outdoor Space of Your Dreams

We all have different styles and tastes, so your outdoor patio should reflect those styles and tastes. Don’t worry about having the same patio design as your neighbour. When it comes to outdoor furniture, there is such a huge variety in designs, textures and materials that originality is no concern.

Patio furniture can refer to a table and chair —lounge chairs and let’s not forget a fan favorite, the hammock.

The key part to outdoor furniture is the outdoor part ; you want to ensure that you choose furniture that is durable enough to withstand the elements. Patio furniture comes in a variety of different materials such as:

  • Wood
  • Plastic
  • Metal
  • Or Wicker

If you are looking to transform your outdoor living area, determine the current theme you have or the theme that you wish to have in your backyard. Determining your theme is an important first step so you can purchase furniture that will complement your vision.

So What Patio Furniture Will Take My Outdoor Space to the Next Level?

Bring Warmth to Your Party with a Fire Pit

As the days get shorter and colder, a fire pit can bring heat to your gathering and also serve as a great center piece for social activity.

Fire pits come in two main options: wood-burning and gas-fueled. Wood-burning provides a more natural feel, replicating the feel of a campsite. Gas-burning fire pits are more user-friendly, requiring just the push of a button to start-up.

Gazebo

Gazebos are a great way to relax or entertain in your yard. You can opt for a roof that provides complete protection from sun or rain or a design that allows for more light and airflow through the roof. Gazebos can also have screen walls that still allow you to see through while offering shelter from wind and rain. Another option that many home owners choose to incorporate with their gazebo is a half wall. This could be wooden or stone. The half-wall is mostly a design feature but can also be a protective barrier from winds.     

outdoor patio furniture with gazebo

outdoor patio furniture with gazebo

A gazebo can serve as a shelter for:

  • A fire pit;
  • Your hot tub;
  • A shelter for your outdoor kitchen;
  • A great space for yoga.

Create the Space You’ve Always Wanted

When it comes to your outdoor space, your options are limitless. Another accessory that could be used to decorate your outdoor space could be large planters. Planters are unique as they come in various styles, textures and sizes, while adding plants for your enjoyment in your outdoor space.

The ideal outdoor space is within reach! Hopefully, this article gave you some ideas to incorporate in your own backyard to make it a more enriching living space.

Summer barbeque

Are You Prepared to Throw the Barbeque of the Summer? Here’s What You Need to Know

The summer is fast approaching and before you know it barbeque season will be here again. You want to throw the barbeque that will bring your family and friends together and create those picture perfect moments that will fondly be remembered for years to come. Here’s what you need to know!

Tips for Prepping and Cooking Your Food

Use Non-Reactive Bowls

When cooking make sure to use non-reactive bowls like stainless steel. They provide benefits such as:

  • They are dishwasher-safe;
  • They do not react to acidic ingredients;
  • They do not hold odours.

Brush the Grill When It’s Hot

Debris is easier to remove from the grill when it is hot, so preheat your grill before using a long-handled wire grill brush to keep your rack free of debris from previous meals.

Don’t Forget to Use Oil!

Even after you ensure your grill is clean, lean foods may stick when placed on the grill rack. To reduce the risk of your food sticking, oil prior to placing the food on it. The best method for this is hold oil-soaked paper towel with tongs and rubbing it on your grill rack.

Choose a theme for your barbeque

Now everyone enjoys a good barbeque, but add a theme and you have got yourself a party! For example, what about a Hawaiian Luau or Christmas in July? These are ways to bring another dimension of fun for you and your guests to enjoy. 

Provide Entertainment for Your Little Ones

Now we all appreciate and love the value that our little ones add to our lives, but occupying their attention is easier said than done. To create a barbeque that they will love as well, let’s throw in some more kid friendly activities such as:

  • Badminton. 
  • Soccer. 
  • Or water gun fights.
    summer barbeque fun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The list of possible activities goes on and on but I think you get the idea. These are all ways to create an environment that’s not only enjoyable for you but your little ones as well. Who knows, maybe you’ll even grab a water gun yourself.

Incorporate these tips into your next barbeque and you’ll have a memorable event that will have your family and friends eager to come back for more!

Best Free Apps That Simplify Spa Maintenance

Best Free Apps That Simplify Spa Maintenance

Do you ever forget to treat your hot tub or pool water? Or maybe you’re just unsure which chemicals to add to sanitize and balance your water levels. If either scenario sounds familiar, consider downloading the free apps below for assistance.

HowsMyWater

This free iOS app uses the onboard camera to take pictures of pool-testing strips and instantly provide treatment instructions.

Learn more

Insta-Link Water Testing

This app synchronizes with a special pool-testing strip. It works like HowsMyWater, relying on photos for water analysis. Additionally, you can view the history of your water, check the water volume and set maintenance reminders for yourself.

Learn more

Nimbus Pool Doctor

The Nimbus Pool Doctor makes chemical recommendations and keeps a record of past treatments.

Learn more

The Pool Monitor Free

This free app both tracks and calculates the chemical inputs for your pool or spa. It is a great tool for those who are regular about their maintenance but require assistance determining what to put in the water and when.

Learn more

NSPF Suite of Apps

The National Swimming Pool Foundation and inQ Mobile Apps have created a set of iPhone apps for pool service operators and homeowners alike—some free, some paid.

Learn more

Pool Smart

Never forget another maintenance duty with this free pool and spa checklist manager and chemical calculator.

Learn more

Balboa Spa Control App

Compatible with supported Balboa spas, this app lets you control every aspect of the spa—its temperature, filtration, jets and more.

Learn more

iAquaLink

If you own the Zodiac AquaLink pool control system, then you can easily control the entire system via Wi-Fi with this free app.

Learn more

Winter Hot Tub Must Know Tips

Winter Hot Tub Must Know Tips

Living in cold climates means that winters can get pretty harsh, but if you have a hot tub you can make the most out of the freezing temperatures. Hot tubs are an excellent investment and can give you a lifetime of memories, but they also require some care from your end. Read below to learn some tips on how you can make the most out of your hot tubs.

Check Water Levels

If you have an unattended leak, this can become a costly problem—one that can be avoided through regular maintenance checks. When water levels get too low, the heater and pump may stop working, and these are the most expensive parts of a hot tub to repair. Whether you use your hot tub regularly or not, make sure that you check the water levels on a frequent basis.

Keep It at a Set Temperature

Setting a temperature will help keep electric bills down while conserving energy. Constantly increasing and decreasing the temperature can lead to outrageously high bills. You might also want to consider adding a spa blanket to make your spa more energy-efficient.

Piping Protection

Put your hot tub’s freeze protection on to prevent damage during the winter months. Freeze protection ensures that the temperature is constant even when you aren’t using the hot tub. If your hot tub doesn’t have a freeze protection option, all you need to do is use the timer to schedule the tub to go on for just 15 minutes every hour so that warm water is always flowing through the pipes.

Entertain

Make the winter time a memorable season by inviting friends or your significant other to come over and enjoy the hot tub with you. You’re in for days or nights of endless fun in the hot tub; add some hot cocoa or wine and you’re all set. Just make sure that you always provide enough water for your guests because hot tubs mixed with alcohol can be quite dehydrating.

Hot Tubs for Fitness

After your winter workouts, head over to your hot tub to help stretch out your muscles. Hot water is extremely effective in preventing muscle soreness especially after a good workout session. Other people pay for this service when they go to hydrotherapy spas, but you have the convenience of it all right in your own hot tub.

A Short Glossary of Popular Billiards Terms

Different players, households and halls refer to common techniques and equipment by different names. To help standardize the billiards vocabulary, we’ve assembled a small glossary of common terms.

  • Apex: The front ball in the pyramid or rack.
  • Bank shot: When the object ball hits one or more cushions before entering a pocket. It does not qualify as a bank shot if the ball travels adjacent to a rail.
  • Baulk line: A straight line near the bottom of the table, used in snooker.
  • Bed of the table: The inner surface area of the table—the felted area.
  • Break: The opening shot or the total points scored in an inning (snooker).
  • Bridge: An accessory for assisting with long-table shots.
  • Called shot/ball: When a player announces which ball/pocket they are aiming for; the shot is disqualified if the player strikes the wrong ball or pockets in the wrong place.
  • Clean bank: The object ball does not touch any other balls on its way into the pocket.
  • Combination: The cue ball strikes an object ball into another object ball to score either the last contacted or both contacted balls.
  • Cue: The wooden shaft used for striking balls.
  • Cue ball: The white ball directly struck by the cue.
  • Cushion: The rubber borders on the inside of the rails.
  • Dead ball: When the cue ball transfers all speed to its object, causing it to move very little after contact.
  • English: Side spin used to change the roll of the cue or object ball.
  • Feather shot: A shot where the cue ball grazes the object ball.
  • Follow shot: A shot where the cue ball is struck above the center, causing a forward after-spin.
  • Foot of the table: The area of the table where balls are racked at the beginning of a game.
  • Foul: An infraction of the rules—often penalized.
  • Game ball: The shot that wins the game.
  • Head of the table: The area of the table from which the break shot occurs.
  • Jump shot: When the cue ball or object balls comes off the table but remains in the bed.
  • Masse: A significant curve shot made with by elevating the cue and shooting downward.
  • Miscue: A stroke that results in missing the cue ball.
  • Rails: The sides of the table. A rail shot happens when a ball is touching one of the rails.
  • Push shot: The cue tip keeps contact with the cue ball longer than is legal.
  • Split hit: When the first ball of contact cannot be determined.
  • Squeeze shot: A shot made near a crowded pocket.

A Brief History of Billiards

Billiards emerged sometime during the 15th century. It evolved from a Northern European lawn game that resembles modern croquet. The billiards table design borrows many elements from its outdoor roots. For instance, the green felt simulates grass just as the rails, often referred to as banks, act as river banks or perimeters for boxing in the playing field.

To adapt the sport for indoor gameplay, the equipment changed over the years from maces to cues. Maces were wooden sticks with large heads, meant for pushing rather than striking. When the balls would rest against the rails, players would flip the mace over and use the thin end to strike the ball. This technique proved challenging, a reason why players began to use it more frequently in subsequent decades.

The progression towards the modern cue slowly unravelled during the late 1600s. That said, the industrial revolution contributed most to the development of modern billiards equipment.

A Game for the Nobility and Common Folk Alike

The earliest billiards accounts come from the nobility; however, there is substantial evidence that the sport was enjoyed by the peasantry and working class too. In fact, there are references to the sport in various works of art and literature—most notably, Shakespearean plays.  

Interestingly, billiards was the first sport to hold a world championship in 1873. Around this time, the most popular game was English Billiards; Eight-Ball wasn’t invented until the 1900s. Pool games, as we call them today, were popularized in the 20th century as betting games—pool references the pot or ante. Although many forms of billiards involved betting, it was straight billiards and Eight-Ball that kept the name.